Project Description

MAPS is an instrument for systematic problem solving, design and innovation and it assists design researchers and their collaborators in project planning.

It is not difficult to find descriptions and representations of processes for designing, problem solving and innovative product development. However, most of these representations, although informed by practical experiences, can hardly be considered theoretic, systematic or rigorous. And even the more thoughtful representations fall short in a few critical aspects as they:

– overlook the (problematic) situation, i.e. the relevant contextual factors;
– conflate process models with methods and tools;
– fail to distinguish the epistemological domains of knowing (the true, the ideal, the real);
– are domain-specific.

To fill the knowledge gap, we have been developing an electronic tool called MAPS. MAPS stands for Matching ANALYSIS – PROJECTION – SYNTHESIS. MAPS is an intelligent, knowledge-supported online community tool for systematic planning of design research and innovation projects. It decreases complexity and uncertainty in configuring processes and increases efficiency and effectiveness when collaborating with partners and clients. MAPS is based on a robust theoretical model of the design and development process. It operates in three different modes: Wizard, Planner and Reference to suit your situational needs.

Wizard guides you step by step to plan a project. With a questionnaire, it assists you to understand the nature of your project and recommends the most suitable process and methods.
Planner supports you to set up, document and communicate a project explicitly.
Reference is a database of over 200 methods, templates and links and a living knowledge bank for you and your institute.



Jonas, W., Chow, R., Bredies, K., & Vent, K. (2010). Far Beyond Dualism in Methodology: An Integrative Design Research Medium ‘MAPS’. DRS International Conference ‘Design & Complexity’, edited by P. Lalande.

Project Links

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